Today on Soup: Ski Stories. # 1

But in knowing Dave and his mercurial nature I really don’t know if he would.

David Sadowski, summer 2005.
David Sadowski, summer 2005. Dean Adams

Racer David Sadowski learned the answer to the final question on Wednesday, January 12, 2022 at his home in Georgia. He was 58 years old.

Ski was a good friend or over thirty years. I had not talked to him in a while, but Ski was the kind of friend where if he connected with you, then you didn’t need to talk to him on a regular basis to renew the vows of male friendship. We would regularly go years without talking face to face but if we saw one another, it was like we’d just seen each other yesterday. Once, I hadn’t seen him in years but flagged him down in a parking lot at DIS. “Dinner, he asked?” “Sure,” I said.

“Meet you there,” he said, knowing I’d know where to go (Ale House).

He was Ski, and I think he had kind of close bond with people all over the world. He was a very unique person, even for a rider. That evening was capped off like most with Ski; he grabbed the check, and walked towards the cash register to pay. Along the way if he saw friends or fans, he would grab their checks too and pay them all.

Please don’t get the impression that Dave was any less human than the rest of us. He was as fallible as they come. He made very gigantic mistakes and painful lapses of judgement. I hope that if Dave was given a second chance at those bad chapters in his life, he would do things differently. But in knowing Dave and his mercurial nature I really don’t know if he would.

What I do know is that if Dave cared about you then he could be a very kind and compassionate friend. He would say he was there for you and while a lot of people might say that and sort of mean it, Dave really meant it. He was renown to his friends for being generous and willing to help.

Most of this happened in the late 1980s and 1990s. The AMA Superbike series then was like some kind of secret club that met at racetracks; no one cared about it. The OEM manufacturers would occasionally step in, spend some money, extract some wins that they would use to help sell streetbikes and then vanish. The upside of this financial and media desert was that it meant riders and the paddock could grow wild like seeds blown in the wind. It was wild.

Ski, as long as I knew him, had irrepressible energy. He could maintain four conversations at the same time, help the nearly un-helpable electricians wire a garage at Daytona (“Don’t touch that dude! That’s hot!”) as he talked to his mechanics at the same time, do a three-day weekend on 4 hours of sleep and not let any kind of impediment stop him. Nothing. He had an intensity that I am not sure I have ever seen in another human being.

Example: Dave could drive non-stop from the east coast to the west coast in a van–solo–with no sleep or “help” in the form of chemicals

One time at Daytona a friend from California told Dave that he was having problems getting anyone to help him paint his three- or four-story house. Dave said, “Oh, I can help you when do you want to do it?” “Ha, jeez, Dave whenever you get out there.” After the race Dave loaded up in New Hampshire or Atlanta–I can’t remember which–and long-armed it solo non-stop to LA. This was in the era when the national speed limit was a lobotomizing 55mph and spinning wheels at 65 mph was really pushing things. The only way to make time was to simply not stop other than for gas and roller-dogs.

His friend was in his house and heard ladders being clanking into place outside, walked out and saw Dave climbing up the aluminum ladder, sixty feet off the ground, asking where the paint scrapers were. Even after driving for days Dave scraped and painted until well past dark. That was Ski.

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